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Junk: A Spectacular Tale of Trash

Nicholas Day (author) Tom Disbury (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534126466

Sylvia Samantha White is very good at finding--she just doesn't know exactly what all her "junk" is good for, not yet at least. But when completely ridiculous disaster strikes, she springs into action and uses her junk to create solutions to the town's troubles. A charming ode to collecting, creating, and following your bliss--even when you're not entirely sure where it will lead you.

Bully

Jennifer Sattler (author) Jennifer Sattler (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534126381

Bully the bullfrog lives in a pond full of lilies. The flowers are beautiful, fragrant, and enjoyed by the many other creatures that also inhabit the pond. The pond is a very pleasant place to live. Or it should be. Instead, Bully decides that only he should be able to enjoy the beautiful lilies. He demands that the other inhabitants of the pond leave. And once Bully has the flowers to himself, his selfish behavior almost destroys them. Can anyone stop Bully and his bullying ways? As it turns out, the answer is YES! Using humor and whimsy, author-illustrator Jennifer Sattler masterfully shows young readers that standing up together can make all the difference in the world.

Write On, Irving Berlin!

Leslie Kimmelman (author) David C. Gardner (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534122963

Escaping persecution for being Jewish, the Baline family fled Russia and arrived by ship in New York City harbor in September 1893. Little Israel Isidore Baline is only five years old. After arriving at Ellis Island, the first stop for all immigrants, Israel and his family are ready to begin a new life in America. His family settles in the Lower East Side and soon Israel (now nicknamed Izzy) starts school. And while he learns English, he is not a very good student. According to his teachers he daydreams and sings in class. But while these may not be traits that are helpful in the classroom, these are wonderful tools for a budding singer and composer. And by the time that Izzy (now known as Irving) is a young man, he is well on his way to becoming one of the most well-known composers in America. This vivid picture-book biography examines the life of Irving Berlin, the distinguished artist whose songs, including "God Bless America," continue to be popular today.

S is for Save the Planet: A How-To-Be Green Alphabet

Brad Herzog (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531726

Did you know Americans generate nearly 250 million tons of trash each year? Or that it takes hundreds of years for a polystyrene cup to decompose? Mankind's negative impact on Mother Earth is tremendous and daily bad news can make it feel overwhelming. But all is not lost! S is for Save the Planet: A How-to-Be-Green Alphabet details the many environmental issues we face and then suggests easy-to-take actions that anyone can do. From the particulars of vermicomposting and xeriscaping, to the three R's of responsible waste management, young readers learn how they can be a force of nature in protecting the earth for generations to come.Brad Herzog spends two months every summer traveling across the country with his wife and two young sons and celebrating America's natural wonders. Together, they have visited more than 30 national parks and seashores. This is Brad's eighth alphabet book for Sleeping Bear Press. He lives on California's Monterey Peninsula. Linda Holt Ayriss is the recipient of a silver medal from the Best in the West Society of Illustrators, and has been recognized in the Communication Arts Annual. She is also the author of Sleeping Bear's E is for Evergreen: A Washington Alphabet. Linda lives in Washington State.

The Listeners

Gloria Whelan (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365968

Ella May lives on a plantation but she doesn't live in the great house. She is a slave. It's dark in the morning when Ella May heads to the fields to pick cotton. And it's sunset when she comes home. But her day isn't done, not yet. Ella May still has important work to do. She's got to listen. Each night Ella May and her friends secretly listen outside the windows of their master's house. The children listen in the hopes of gleaning information about their fates and those of their loved ones. Who will be sold? Who will stay? The lives of slaves depended on the inclinations of their owners. They had no control over their daily lives or futures. But they could dream. And when the promise of freedom appears on the horizon, the children are the first to hear it. Gloria Whelan's other titles in the Tales of Young Americans series include Friend on Freedom River (Jefferson Cup honor book) and Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem (2007 Michigan Notable Book). Ms. Whelan lives in Michigan. Mike Benny's illustrations have appeared in Time, GQ, and The New Yorker magazines. His awards include three gold and two silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. He also illustrated America's White Table. Mike lives in Austin, Texas.

The Lucky Star

Judy Young (author), Chris Ellison (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410365781

It is 1933 and the Great Depression has ravaged the nation. Millions of people are out of work; thousands of families are struggling to keep a roof overhead and food on the table. But Momma still finds ways to count her blessings (lucky stars) from Ruth's new shoes to Poppa's new job. But where Momma sees the 'bright,' Ruth only sees the dark. Her shoes are hand-me-downs from a neighbor and Poppa's new job keeps him away from home for months. And now their town can't afford to keep the school open. Ruth will not be going to fourth grade even though she's one of the brightest students in her class. How can anyone find the good in that? But when Ruth stops thinking of her own problems and focuses on someone else's, she realizes that being a lucky star is the best way to start seeing your own lucky stars. In addition to writing children's books, Judy Young teaches poetry writing workshops for children and educators across the country. Her other books with Sleeping Bear Press include the popular R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet and Lazy Days of Summer. Judy lives near Springfield, Missouri. This is Chris Ellison's third book in the Tales of Young Americans series. He also illustrated Rudy Rides the Rails and Pappy's Handkerchief. His first book with Sleeping Bear Press, Let Them Play, was named a 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Chris lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Riding to Washington

Gwenyth Swain (author), David Geister (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308467

Janie is not exactly sure why her daddy is riding a bus from Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. She knows why she has to go-to stay out of her mother's way, especially with the twins now teething. But Daddy wants to hear a man named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak and, to keep out of trouble, Janie is sent along. Riding the bus with them is a mishmash of people, black and white, young and old. They seem very different from Janie. As the bus travels across cities and farm fields to its historic destination, Janie sees firsthand the injustices that many others are made to endure. She begins to realize that she's not so different from the other riders and that, as young as she is, her actions can affect change.Though fiction, Riding to Washington is a very personal story for Gwenyth Swain as both her father and grandfather rode to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 1963 civil rights march on the nation's capital. Ms. Swain's other books include Chig and the Second Spread and I Wonder As I Wander. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Artist David Geister has entertained audiences for years with his costumed portrayals of historic characters from the nineteenth century, and his artwork reflects his interest in history and dramatic storytelling. Riding to Washington is his third title with Sleeping Bear Press. David lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Let Them Play

Margot Theis Raven (author), Chris Ellison (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308153

Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina -- all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default, giving the boys a legitimate spot in the Little League Baseball World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially "played" and won their state's tournament. Let Them Play takes its name from the chant shouted by the spectators who attended the World Series final. Author Margot Theis Raven recounts the inspiring tales of the Cannon Street All-Stars as they arrived in Williamsport, PA and never got the chance to play for the title thanks to the bigotry and ignorance of the South Carolina teams. Winning by forfeit, the Cannon Streeters were subsequently not allowed to participate in Williamsburg because they had not "played" their way into the tournament. Let Them Play is an important civil rights story in American history with an even more important message about equality and tolerance. It's a tale of humanity against the backdrop of America's favorite pastime that's sure to please fans of the sport and mankind. This summer will mark the 50th year since the fans' shouts of Let Them Play fell on deaf ears and 14 boys learned a cruel lesson in backwards politics and prejudice. This book can help teach us a new lesson and assure something like this never happens again.

Friend on Freedom River

Gloria Whelan (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308337

In 1850 the Detroit River was a major track along the Underground Railroad -- the last step to freedom. The journey across the river was dangerous, especially in winter and especially for a 12-year-old boy. When Louis's father left him in charge of the farm he offered his son this advice, "If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done." Louis relies upon his father's words of wisdom when a runaway slave and her two children come looking for safe passage. In the second title in our Tales of Young Americans series Gloria Whelan -- author of National Book Award winning Homeless Bird -- beautifully creates a suspenseful coming-of-age story while illuminating a difficult time in America's past. Ms. Whelan's narrative again shows the human spirit will forever shine brightly in dark times. Freedom River - part of our Young Americans series - will quickly become a favorite for its important message and look at history from a youngster's eye. Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen - a Sleeping Bear Press favorite - treats the material as only he can. Each illustrated page demonstrates the same mastery and devotion to his craft as the young heroes he brings to life.